Thursday, December 10, 2009

The New Year Approaches

Oh my… the time sure flies by in December, does it not?

For instance, I cannot believe that it was almost one week ago that I had the distinct honour of being a guest blogger over at BlissChick.
Colour me giddy-schoolgirl-excited!
Go here to check out the article I wrote on overcoming obstacles to bliss.

I cannot believe how swiftly this entire year has gone by. Looking at my day timer,it seems like just yesterday I opened it’s fresh new pages and began to fill up the virgin months with appointments, work schedules, choir practices and concert dates. Now it’s nearing the end pages and the time has come to shop for Day-Timer 2010! Incidentally, I still use a book, not a blackberry or other pda… had one once, but I LOVE my day timer books that require actual handwriting.

I have a bit of a fascination with new day-timers. First there is the ritual of going shopping for the new one. This is something that I usually do during my Christmas shopping trip to Chapters. Which in fact, I was scheduled to do today, but my daughter’s bus was cancelled and it’s the second snow day in a row… but whatever, I’ll go tomorrow.

I have no great loyalty when it comes to the brand of day-timer I prefer. Having said that, however, the past three years I have used and loved The Women’s Daybook put out by Sumach Press. I will likely go for it again, although I have also been considering Sandra Boynton’s Mom’s Family Desk Planner. I perused it when I was at Chapters a few weeks ago and what appealed to me was the blank pages with the heading “Notes for my Novel”. There are also pages with blank sheet music with a heading along the lines of “Music for my Opera “ or something like that. The book also has weekly grocery list pages built in that you can tear out.

The best part about my ‘New Day-Timer Ritual” is the time I spend planning the year to come. During that week between Christmas and New Year’s… that is my when I am in day-timer heaven. Usually late in the afternoon, curled up by the fire or early in the morning with a cup of tea and nowhere to go (and everyone else still sleeping), I'll open it up and do a little dreaming, a little planning, a little recording of loved ones birthdays and important dates. The New Year lies ahead all fresh and clean and empty, much like the book.

And I get to fill it up with whatever dreams my heart desires.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Been Busy Singing!!

Wow! It's been a while since I've done any blogging.... obviously.
However, the good news is that I have been very busy living my bliss, that is to say I have been singing!!

In September I began singing with a choir again. A great choir called the Westben Festival Chorus. I sang with them last fall,too. The past two weekends were spent in four separate performances singing in three different locations. It was a truly satisfying, soul nurturing, blissful experience.

Now that the performances are over with for this year,
I hope to return to making some more regular blog entries.
And preparing for the holidays.
And enjoying (NOT stressing over) the season!
Christmas cards and gingerbread.... here I come!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Completing a list of Seven Things!!

Today, Jamie asks, "What do you wish to complete"?
All anyone need do in order to know what I wish to complete is to read the past few WishCasting posts (which is easy to do as they seem to be the only ones I am making these days!!).

I swear that Jamie is asking these questions directly to me to urge me on into completing my music cd for children and that of course is my main wish.

However, as most of us do, I also have a list of unfinished projects to complete; scrapbooks, letters to friends, stories and songs that I am writing.

And today I get to combine two posts into one because quite a while back now, the sweet and witty Kavindra was oh so very kind as to point her readers in my direction… and I’ve neglected to provide them with any new content! (Aside from wish casting).

I do move slowly on most fronts… in a thoughtful, purposeful manner… yeah, that’s it!

Anywho, I love lists (pick a post, any post, you’ve likely about a 50% chance of finding a list!!) and so, I present the MeMe which means I will share 7 tidbits about myself:

  1. I met my Fishguy when I was all of eighteen years old. It was more or less love at first sight for both of us (well, for him it was more like lust at first sight, he was a 19 year old boy, after all) but we didn’t actually end up really getting together until 10 years later. The rest is history.

  2. The fishguy and I created an absolutely darling little elf of a girl who I refer to as SugarPlum (Fishguy calls her Monkereeno). She turned 8 this summer and she is an absolute delight to be around… unless she is grumpy (then Fishguy calls her “Gus” which makes her even more grumpy!)

  3. I went bungee jumping once! Was dipped head first into the Ottawa River. My adrenaline was pumping for days afterwards!

  4. I sang at an open mic night a few times with a friend of mine. We got together once or twice a week and practiced a few songs with our guitars. The first night was fun, but we weren’t really that good. We practiced more and did it again a month later. At the end of our set I sang a cappella, a song that I wrote. The whole place became so quiet that you could have heard a pin drop while I was singing (it was a noisy pub). I had an adrenaline rush (highly comparable to the bungee jumping high) for days afterwards!

  5. I love the smell of the woods. Yep. Pine and cedar, my favourite smells. Better than coffee. And if Fishguy has been out walking in the woods or even chopping wood and then gives me a hug… best aphrodisiac ever!

  6. I love hanging clothes out on the line first thing in the morning … gives me a really peaceful, calm, this is where I belong, happy feeling… plus the birds are just about going crazy with song.

  7. I finally painted my studio!!! Yes it is done! Well, more or less, there are still a few touches I’d like to add here and there (new lamp shade, new throw pillow cases etc.) And I even printed a digitalized version of my very own painting for one of the walls! It is the pic in this post.

Now, the passing along of recognition. As Kavindra has done I will simply guide my readers to seven of the great blogs that I enjoy as often as I can!!


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sharing My Song of Kindness

It is Wednesday and Jamie once again invites us to wish and to share. WishCasting's question this week incidentally is, "What do you wish to Share?"

I’d like to share a little story with you about kindness.
I love to sing (if you’ve read any of my posts, you kinda know that already). I joined a wonderful choir last fall and it was wonderful. We did an awesome Christmas performance and I felt good about my singing ability.

This past Monday was the second choir practice of this season. Now, I have not studied music very much and am still learning how to read music. In the beginning when we are learning the new music, it is pretty tricky for me and I have to really listen hard to pick up what I have not yet learned how to read. I struggle. It is hard.

We have a few new choir members. One of them sang a solo that just about blew me away (she was handed the piece of music at the beginning of practice). Her well-trained voice gave me chills.

I began to have that old familiar feeling of doubt overwhelm me.

You know, that snotty little diva saying, “Hmmmph, you’re never going to be able to sing like that!!!! What are you even doing here??”
But, I shooed her away and maintained my strength and tried even harder.

I even spoke to another choir member (who is a piano teacher) about getting together for a tutoring session. She helped me last year and happily agreed to assist me again.

On my drive home after practice, that diva tried out some new lines on me “You think you can sing and write songs? You can’t even read music!”
And I fought back tears. But, I told her to shut the hell up.
As I was wiping the tears away, I saw her out of the corner of my eye.
No, not the Diva (she’s not Real!!) but a lovely young deer at the side of the road.
Just standing there, looking at me. I slowed down, afraid she might jump out into my path but she just stood there and leapt away after I passed her by.

A couple of years ago, I was seeing a lot of deer. I love seeing deer. I am completely honoured and awestruck. On my 40th birthday, I saw 10 deer!!! It was the best present ever!

Deer are a symbol of gentleness, kindness and unconditional love and acceptance. Deer are sattvic. When ever I see deer I am reminded to be kind and gentle with myself, to stop being too hard or judgmental. This is what deer are meant to remind us.

So, aside from that little story, I also want to lovingly and with gentleness share my voice, my very own beautiful voice, that is virtually untrained and can’t read music voice; my kind and unique and so full of emotion voice; my voice that loves to sing just for the love of singing and because it feels sooo right and good!

Even more motivation to get that cd DONE!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Life in the Slow Lane!

No thoughtful creative writing or deep profound meaning here today folks. Just a plain and simple wish for the luxury of high speed internet!! I love blogging and surfing around reading everyones wonderfully inspiring blogs, but man it can be such a challenge without highspeed internet.

We live in an area where it is still unavailable (hard to believe, but there are still such zones). And we simply can't afford the cost of sattelite... even those usb modems are too costly for us....

Downloading or uploading pictures takes forever and all those great YouTube vids people are always posting, well forget about it. Sometimes I can watch them while I'm on my lunch hour at work, where I have occassionally caught a glimspe of an Adorable Rabbit over at Ordinary Enchantment.

And, I can only dream of PodCasts

What I need is highspeed internet or a lap top to drop into my lap. If I had a lap top, I could at least access highspeed although I would be giving up the comfort of my home to do so and therefore would really much rather have affordable highspeed access here in my home!!

That is all.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Am Learning

What do you wish to learn?

That is Jamie’s Wishcasting Wednesday question for today.

Well, there are soooo many things that I wish to learn… I’ve been trying to narrow it down a bit and well, that’s rather challenging. So you know what? I’m just going to make a list! :-)

Top Ten things I would like to learn:

  1. How to change a tire. I’ve (touch wood) never HAD to do this and I occasionally have this nagging fear when I head out on the highway, that I’ll end up with a flat and not have a clue how to fix it.
  2. How to take really great photos and use all the functions of a good camera.
  3. How to make bread… I’ve always been to afraid to try and I know it must be easy enough. I've actually never used yeast before.

Wait…just a dog-gone minute here...I can’t believe this but... I am actually going to abandon this list!!!!!!! ((GASP)).

What I’d really like to learn is to be more focused and self disciplined. To finish the projects I have already started. To get off the computer today and start completing some Very Important work(see my two most recent posts for details on said work).

Check out Shamsi’s post. She says a lot of what I wish I had been able to articulate. And in reading her post I started to see that I AM actually learning how to become more focused. It is a process and it may be slow and actually involve work on my part, but I AM learning to recognize my patterns of sabotage and self defeating practices and stop myself from chasing after every whim and fancy.

And it ISN"T easy! It’s easy to chase and leap and dance after every desire.

It’s hard work (on so many levels) to sit still and focus myself to complete that which I KNOW will bring me into my true, blissful self.

It’s hard work, and I’m learning that I can do it!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Adjusting My Focus and 31 Things I Enjoy

In my last post, I talked about the fact that I have no problem with beginning projects…it’s the completion that tends to challenge me.

Part of the reason for this is a lack of focus. I often lack focus because I am interested in so many different creative pursuits and I want to do them all. Right. Now. And so, I have come to recognize that I need to proceed with a bit of caution when my attention is grabbed by every shiny, sparkling, creative opportunity that comes along and say "Whoa! Wait a minute. Is this truly something I can afford to spend my energy on?"

Other wise I get spread too thin and quite frankly, I prefer a more concentrated me. Less water, more juice! Except when it comes to drinking habits, then I’m all for more water, less juice… (See what I mean? My focus, she wanders off….)

Which brings me to my point (you just knew it had to be coming).
The Artist’s Way (TAW)… I had intended to join a group of Bloggers that began to work through TAW a few weeks ago. Go here to read all about it.

I have a great love of Julie Cameron's Artist's Way and have worked through the book before, but have never completed it, (although I did write about it here) which is why I thought that joining this group would be a great activity for me.

As much as I love the idea of doing this, it is one of those items which I just can’t afford to place my focus upon, just now. There simply isn’t room between my yoga and musical practices (which take priority) to follow the daily requirements of morning pages and find the time to do and then blog about the weekly assignments.

All that being said, I am totally cheerleading for those bloggers who are working through TWA . My BB (blogger buddy) Kavindra quite wittily writes about her aversions to TAW here. So creative, talented and funny this lady is, check her out!

Another extremely creative blogger, Serena Lewis has a lovely post and she is managing to follow and do her homework too. In fact, her post inspired me to (although I am not committing to follow along weekly) at least make a list or two. Because, well I just enjoy making lists so darn much.

So, randomly and in no particular order here is my list of 20 things that I enjoy!

  1. Snuggling with my Fishguy
  2. Cuddling with my Sugar Plum little girl (who just turned 8 years old)
  3. Eating fresh ripe peaches yummy!
  4. Singing
  5. Playing my guitar
  6. Getting together with loved ones around a campfire to sing and play guitars
  7. Swimming in da River
  8. Being naked… outdoors
  9. When I am struck with the inspiration to write a new song
  10. Dancing around the house
  11. Going dancing at a night club with some girlfriends
  12. Painting with watercolours
  13. Having hot and steamy sex (I never see this on anyone’s list. Is it TMI?)
  14. Facilitating yoga classes
  15. Puttering around the house in the evening while listening to music and having a glass of red, just rearranging and organizing shelves or books or countertops etc. just to make things pretty and homey, without any urgency or schedule restricting me
  16. Going out for sushi
  17. Getting together with old friends I haven’t seen in ages and staying up way too late talking
  18. Being at the river
  19. Stroking a cat on my lap
  20. Reading with my girl
  21. Blogging!

    Okay, so that’s 21, but I could not very well leave out blogging, on my blog! I just wrote this list and out of curiosity, I decided to dig out my notes from about 18 months ago and compare the two. So, here is my old list.
  • 1. Sleeping in, a day in bed
  • 2. Singing
  • 3. Songwriting
  • 4. Going out for dinner
  • 5. Going out for sushi
  • 6. Getting together with friends
  • 7. Swimming
  • 8. Dancing
  • 9. Going to see a live band
  • 10. Playing guitar
  • 11. Painting
  • 12. Working with clay
  • 13. Drumming
  • 14. Cooking
  • 15. Scrapbooking
  • 16. Yoga
  • 17. Browsing bookstores and libraries
  • 18. Browsing downtowns
  • 19. Making love
  • 20. Writing stories

I found ten common things on the two lists, so I think it's pretty obvious what I enjoy the most!! What things do you enjoy doing?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wishcasting Wednesday!

"What do you wish to begin?"

That's Jamie's question for this Wishcasting Wednesday.

Hmmm.Well I fell in love with the Goethe quote long ago, many will be familiar with…..
"Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it
Boldness has genius, power and magic in it
Begin it now."

I remember being at a “stuck “point in my life when I first came across that little gem and it gave me a kick start. Since then, I’ve returned to that wisdom again and again and got myself started on many roads to adventure and fulfillment.

Lately, I’ve been feeling “stuck” again. I feel as though I’ve really got the beginning thing down pat… it’s really more the following through with and continuing on with the projects I’ve begun that I need to work on. Especially my music. There is this one project in particular that I began some time ago…. And it taunts me and teases me with the unkind words “You’ll never finish this”… and there are other projects too, scrapbooks, yoga newsletters for my students, paintings, greeting cards, things I’ve started and left after the initial enthusiasm has worn off (which doesn’t take long for me).

So my issue is that I’m a great starter, but not such a great finisher.
Today I wish to begin completing some projects which I have begun. One project in particular (the taunting one!) is a children’s c.d of songs and stories which I began working on as a karma yoga fundraiser project for the daycare centre where I work. Sigh!!! I really need to get this done!

Friday, August 21, 2009

WishCasting, Friday

Jamie over at Jamie Ridler Studios asks: Who is the "you" you wish to be?

Well to start off with I wish that I was the type of person who actually gets things done in a timely fashion! It is Friday and Wish-Casting is a Wednesday event! This is my first time participating in a WishCasting Wednesday, although I have been following a long from time to time. New things often take me a little time to get my head around and so I really am being a bit facetious. I accept this about myself. I'm sure that others (like my boss) wish that I was able to get things done in a timely fashion, but this wishing is about me not them, so there!

I also shouldn’t go reading a bunch of other responses before forming my own because then I find myself simply agreeing with those responses saying “yes, that’s who I want to be too!!”

Well here is a brief list encapsulating the me I’d like to be. The me I’d like to be is:

  • More decisive, less confused, more confident and clear, less wishy-washy
  • More efficient at ‘getting things done’ (especially in matters regarding living my bliss)
  • Less apt to give a hoot about what others may think of me
  • Able to get past all my stuck chicks who measure my worth with values of ‘less’ and ‘more’, ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ and simply accept myself and trust that within the layers of stuck chicks, my true essence is trying hard to shine through and realize the BlissChick's wish...
  • To be my True Self (I think I’ve seen her around her somewhere… she’s usually singing her heart out or scratching out a tune!) She has a captivating and contagious energy.

And now, on with the rest of my day in which the me I wish to be is off to take the neighbours children to their swimming lessons and enjoy a beach party (in the pouring rain?).

Have a good day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Well, I did it! It may be hard to tell from this photo, but my hair is now chocolate with violet streaks. The stylist also straighten it, I am usually curly (and will be again soon) but I like the straight look now and then, just too much work for me personally.
I am pretty happy with it. It is my reward for 100 days of yoga.
My daughter took this picture yesterday at the River, which is where I have been much of the summer... it's why I haven't been posting much. Be back soon!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Unexpected Holiday

My little sugar plum was off to visit her grandparents all last week. Fishguy was working all week. I was expecting to work my regular Mon, Tues, Wed, but the enrollment at the daycare has really dropped this summer, so I worked 6.5 hours last Monday and have been off ever since!! I work again tomorrow.

So what, you may ask, have I been up to all week long? Well, without a child around (or a hubby) it is possible to get caught up on all the house work and laundry… and stay there (for a little while anyways!).

Mostly, I’ve been de-cluttering. I cleaned out my closet (it was long overdue) and I cleaned out Sugar-Plum's closet too. She will be arriving home on Thursday with a large addition of new clothes and shoes courtesy of a shopping spree with Grandma, so I just had to clear out the old (and too small) to make room for the new.

I put 2 garbage bags and 2 largish boxes in the trunk of my car to drop off at Community Care on my way to work tomorrow. That felt good!

I also went through all of Sugar Plum’s school work for the year, recycling much of it, and organizing the report cards, awards, special projects etc. into folders to be put into the eventual scrapbook that I have been planning (for about 4 years) to make of all such things!!

I have a tendency to be a huge procrastinator…. More about that later… LOL!

I’ve wanted, for quite a while now to paint the room that I use as my yoga space. It is also the place where all the musical instruments live. This room, I call the studio. Well, this week I actually managed to get started on this project by tearing off all the hideous wall-paper border in that room! Yay!! It’s a start. I also showed Fishguy the paint-chip colour samples that I have selected to paint the room, to which he said, “Nice!”.

Are my colour choices obvious enough?
Next step: go and buy the paint. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes.

Anyways, besides cleaning, laundry, closet-purging and organizing, recycling, border removal, paying bills and filing receipts, I did manage to fit several non-householdy activities in as well.

  • Yoga every day (day 100 is tomorrow!!!)
  • Guitar playing and singing every day
  • Raspberry picking
  • Visited a couple of friends for tea
  • Had a lovely dinner out with Fishguy on Saturday night
  • Watched some movies
  • Went for a swim
  • Read some of Sugar Plum's Library books
  • Read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (almost done)
  • Journal Writing
  • Blog Writing
  • Listening to music
  • Just hanging out at home being happily introverted!!

Not a bad way to spend an unexpected stay-cation. Incidentally, I consider this list to double as my graditude list for this week!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Transformation Inevitable

This beauty is the reason we intentionally keep milkweed in the yard at the River House. While beautiful, even in its larval stage, this creature will soon become a magnificent Monarch Butterfly. Plus, the flower produced by this so-called weed, is also quite lovely.
I'm feeling a lot like a caterpillar these days, steadily munching away on my diet of yoga, guitar playing and singing.
I've been working on intentionally living my bliss (with the encouragement of this lady).
And in doing so I've learned:
  • not to care quite so much about what others think
  • to be more conscious of my daily choices and how they affect my bliss and energy
  • that I have more self discipline than I've ever given myself credit for
  • that I am able to recognize and overcome negative self talk (the divas) more frequently (um, see the previous post for more on this)
  • to be less hard on myself
  • to be more open and loving

In further examining my intentions, I've found that:

  • I practice contentment, regardless of my situation (even when the divas are present)
  • When truly unhappy with my situation, I have the power to CHANGE it
  • It is my purpose to spread and reflect light to all beings
  • Singing is my bliss and I intend to live that every day

I still need to work a bit more on my list of intentions but in practicing contentment with where I am at, I'm not too stressed about it. I also see that the journey is where the joy is, it's not at the culmination of any list making project I take on.

And while transformation is inevitable, the caterpillar is just as lovely as the butterfly!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Before and After

This is my paradise. I call it, The Healing River.

Me, feeling like a pathetic loser
before swimming in the Healing River.

Me, feeling all blissed out
after swimming in the Healing River.

Last Friday, I was having One Of Those Days. You know, kinda blue. It was just one of those days when I was feeling blah, unfocused, ugly, stupid, useless, scattered, in pain (lower back), in pain (emotional negativity), unworthy, uneducated, dark and gloomy, sad, pathetic and just generally all around "less" than good enough.

It was cool and overcast outside. I moped around the house most of the day. Spent too much time on the computer (aggravating my lower back pain). Then skipped my guitar playing (due to lower back pain). Then did a little more yoga (to alleviate lower back pain). Which gave me enough of a sense of peace that I realised I needed to do something to pull myself out of my funk.

Finally three o'clock rolls around and Sugar Plum and I leave the house to meet Fishguy at the River. I packed my guitar and journals and paints, hoping to put them to use once we were there.

I start to feel better just driving there. We arrive and step out of the car. Inhaling deeply, I feel the contentment mingled with pine and cedar enter my being.
I dive into the River and I am home!

The River washes me clean, clearing away all that darkness and doubt. The smell of the River takes me back... to when I was a child.
Back to when I swam all day and played on the beach and buried myself in the sand and then baked in the sun on a warm towel.
Back to when I sang songs and wrote poems without a thought to whether they were "any good" or not.
Back to a time before I was twelve and gradually came to hide myself away.
After that delightful swim, I felt back at centre and played my guitar for about an hour, did a little journaling and a little painting. I went home feeling rejuvenated and renewed and brought along with me, some new ideas for some stories and songs involving Dragonflies on the River.
The rest of my week since that day has been up and down. But that River is only about 20 minutes away....
I have a song or two about that place. It holds a special place in my heart for many reasons.
Does anyone else have a special place that they can go to be "truly home" ?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Summer's Here And the Time is Right...

~for 100 days of Guitar playing (minimum 30 minutes) every day!

~singing every day too... goes without saying

~swimming in the River as much as Possible! (2-3 days/week)

~berry picking!

~attending (rather than facilitating) a yoga class

~weekly trips to the Riverview Park and Zoo


~daily yoga (today is day 75!!)

~dancing in the street (I'll find any opportunity I can!!)

Happy Summer to All!!!!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Challenges

Today is day 68 of my 100 days of Yoga Challenge. Yippee for me!

Today is also day 26 of Yogadiva's June Sun Salutation (Surya Namaskar) challenge.
And let me tell you, it has been a CHALLENGE in the true sense of the word...
I have even cursed the challenge at times.
But, I am getting through it.
There are only 4 days left!

In the beginning (June 1-10th), it was easy. But I usually practice a Sivananda Style of Sun Salutaions which means doing it first on the right and then on the left side is ONE sun salutation. Generally in my daily practice, I was used to doing 3-5 sun salutaions (so 6-10 times down and up again).

On about the 14th of the month, I was just about dying! So I decide to go easy on myself and count my style of sun salutaion as 2 (kinda feels like cheating... but the idea of the challenge isn't to beat yourself up, right?)

And there were a couple of days that I just didn't complete the required number before heading into some other yoga poses, because, well I just went with what was right for me that day.

Some days I would be pouty... "I don't feel like doing 20 sun salutaions", I would say to myself. Then I discovered a way to "trick myself". "Okay" , I would say (to myself-- cuz I do that talking to myself thing quite a fair bit!) "just try to do 10 then and see how that goes".

So I tried it.

The first day, I did half, then did some other asanas and then felt like, "hey, I can do the other half now".

And I did.

That worked for me for a couple of days and then something else happened. When I was being less hard and more gentle on myself, my stamina and determination grew!!

Once I had done half of the number of sun salutaions for the day, I wasn't "too tired" to go on. So I told myself "well I can do another set or two" And before I knew it, I was too close to the end to bother stopping. It has felt amazing!! Thanks go out to Leslie over at Yogadiva's Divine Life for an awsome and rewarding challenge.

Now, I've been having such wonderful and fullfilling success with my Challenges, that I have decided to take up another one.

In favour of no longer resisting my bliss and as part of the Wild Women Revolution that has been commenced over at BlissChick's, I publicly state here and now that I will begin on July 1, 2009, a

100 Days of Guitar Playing Bliss (I'm not gonna call it practice--cuz I don't like practicing, just playing ;-).

Anyone wanna join me on a 100 days of whatever your bliss desires?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Picture this Part Two

I’ve been slowly working on integrating Sugar Plums picture books into my themed collection. This is mainly due to the fact that she no longer reads them and they are taking up valuable space on her ever growing, overcrowded bookshelf.

Something that we are sorely lacking in this household, is enough bookshelf space!
My dear brother, carpenter that he is, long ago promised to build me a custom-made-to-fit-a-corner bookshelf for the guest room. Alas, this shelf has yet to materialize (much like that old adage about the shoemakers children having no shoes, I suppose).

I think that today, I am about to add “make my own damned bookshelf” to my 43 Things list. I don’t have my list posted on that site yet, as I am still working on it. Soon I will post it here. It is a really cool concept for a list lover like me, to have a life list of a manageable 43 Things I’d like to accomplish.

But I digress, I am really here today to post another list;

Top 13 Picture Books from Sugar Plums collection.
And in no particular order here it is:

Why is an Orange Called an Orange?
Cobi Ladner, Lisa Smith

Coyote Sings to the Moon
Thomas King, Johnny Wales

Stranger in the Woods
Carl R Sams II, Jean Stoick

Dawn Watch
Jean E. Pendziwol, Nicolas Debon

Look at Me
Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

The Paper Bag Princess
Robert Munsch, Michael Martchenko

Deep Down in the Woods at Sleepy Time
Carole Lexa Schaefer, Vanessa Cabban

The Runaway Bunny
Margaret Wise Brown

Alligator Pie
Dennis Lee

The Going to Bed Book
Sandra Boynton

Put me in the Zoo
Robert Lopshire

Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb
Dr. Seuss

The Cat in the Hat
Dr. Seuss

Good books. All of them.
If anyone else has a list of favourite books (for children or otherwise), please share!!

Welcome to My Rainbow!

Thank You Christine!!

I had actually already tried what you suggested, but it didn't work the first time. After I got your comment, I tried again and, as you can see, it worked!!

All my font options are back now that I'm in "compose" mode rather than "Edit Html"

Blogging life is just so much more fun in full colour!!

Where Has All My Colour Gone?

The capacity to change font style, size and colour has disappeared from the toolbar in my posting page. You know along the top, the bold and italics icons are still there along with the insert link, spell check, add image and video icons.... But the font choices are.... just gone!!!

I was just starting to like playing with the colour!

On the Blogger help page I sought answers. It was suggested to another blogger who seems to be having the same problem, that a recent updating of Internet Explorer 8 may have caused some incompatibility issues, but no solutions were offered.

Anyone have any suggestions as to how I can get my font control back??

Friday, June 19, 2009

8 Soulful songs

In visiting Ty-Anna over at Let’s See if This Works the other day, I found she was writing about one of my favourite topics as she was prompted to do by Magpie Girl. Magpie Girl asks:

So, what *8 Songs connect you to the Divine? Songs that aren’t classically “religious” or “church music” but create a harmonic bridge to all things holy. Songs that soothe the soul. Songs that encourage and shore you up. Songs that connect you to something bigger and beyond, or more deeply and truly to the here/now. What songs are just Good Medicine? Do tell…and if you have time link us to online versions and youtube videos, just for fun.

Well, I could pick 8 songs from my Joni Mitchell Collection alone (another list for another day!) but since this list is specifically about songs that connect us to the divine, I COULD choose Shadows and Light. This song makes reference to our society’s preoccupation with judging things as good or bad, wrong or right (a common Joni theme). Or I could choose Joni’s popular environmental anthem Big Yellow Taxi(you know, they paved paradise and put up a parking lot) But, instead I choose Woodstock in which she writes …”We are stardust. We are golden. And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden”. I love this song. Incidentally, Joni didn’t even get to play at Woodstock. It was a vicariously written song.

Okay, here are a few more significant songs with soulful impact for me.

Don’t Give Up, Peter Gabriel with Kate Bush. The So cassette lived in my car for years and this song was blasted loudly through my many stages of life, love, loss and it always pulled me through. In Your Eyes is another great song which also impacts me spiritually.

One Love, Bob Marley. The Man was a Living Legend, need I say more.

Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls. Another song that I played over and over again in fact the whole album was quite inspirational… and oh so very fun to sing along to!

Across the Universe, The Beatles. This song got me through the death of a very close relative and friend who left us far too young. And it is a wonderful anthem for Simply Being. Other uplifting Beatles songs include Let It Be, Here Comes the Sun, Lucy In the Sky with Diamonds….. just to name a few.

Lauryn Hill’s The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Hard to pick just one food-for-soul song from this cd. To Zion is very touching and funky (Carlos Santana on rocking guitar!!) In the title track however, Miss Hill states “every time I try to be what some one else thought of me, so caught up I was unable to achieve. But deep in my heart, I knew the answer it was in me. And I made up my mind to define my own destiny!” Woot woot, what a wild woman!

I have to say the same thing about 3years, 5 Months and 2 Days in the life of… Arrested Development. It is one of my all time best “put-it-on-and-get-things-done-because-it-makes-me-feel-so-good” cds. Children Play with Earth (play in the fields, climb a tree, eat of the earth, grow an apple tree, eat rhubarb, eat fruit from the vine, children, it is the earth’s time!) Other great tracks include Mama’s Always on Stage and Mr. Wendle (Mr. Wendle is homeless..he gives me some knowledge, I buy him some shoes, he has a freedom that you and I think is dumb,… I just saw him eat off the food we waste).

Wassabi Collective is an awesome Indie band out of Nelson B.C whose lyrics and energy spread a message of peace and positivity. The song Simplicity off their Cato recording is a soulfully inspiring tune with the opening lyrics “Yeah express what ya got to give and affect the life you live by thinking positive, bliss out now”. Another song, Flowers (“every single day I ask the Goddess how to get along, she say, feel with your heart not your mind your wings are spread you’re doing fine”) is filled with totally funky rhythms and drums. Their second Album Stories Not Forgotten, is also amazing.

I really must list another Joni song though. My list of inspirational music just wouldn’t be complete without the uplifting Chelsea Morning. I wrote a post about it here.

Oops, is that 9?

Technical Difficulties

I am experiencing some technical difficulties. And it is frustrating!

I am used to using Microsoft Word to write and edit my posts, then I just copy and paste them into my blog posting window.

But for some reason, that is not working today. The reason I do this is because we are on dial-up... still! (Won't high speed ever come to my little neck of the woods?)

And don't even get me started on all the other technical difficulties that are presented due to the lack of high speed. Arrgghhh!!

Does anyone have any sugestions or other methods which they use to import text?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Resisting My Bliss

I KNOW that I have been doing it. I've been feeling it for days. I've felt myself "resigning".
Resisting my bliss.

Over a year ago, I was working a 40 hour week in child care. I have been in childcare for 20 years. That's a damned long time to work with small humans. That's an amazingly damned long time to work with small humans and NOT be burnt out. The field of childcare has a notoriously high burn out rate.

The way that I have managed for so long, is that I recognize my need for breaks and changes in my job. Every three years I need some sort of shake up.
I went to Finland once to teach English for a year.
I took six weeks off once to travel Europe.
I got pregnant and had a year off with my own little Sugar Plum.
I did home child care for a while when Sugar Plum was very little.
I returned to a different job after being at home with her for 3 years.

Anyway, last year I was feeling at the end of my rope again (it had been three years in the same job) and I decided to quit and follow my bliss.

I wasn't entirely sure what my bliss was but I knew that it involved writing and singing.
And as it turned out, I didn't full-out QUIT, but compromised and started working part-time in September 2008.

Since then I have started teaching yoga. I love yoga and it makes me feel great! I feel wonderful when I am facilitating a class. It is not however, the bliss I was seeking.

I am now finally writing more, thanks to finally getting this blog going.
And I am doing some more creative writing as well.
My children's stories and songs though? Not so much.

In September, I joined a local choir. And I was Blissful!! It was awesome. Weekly practices leading up to an amazing Christmas concert with 4 sold out performances at 2 locations. My voice was in tip-top shape and I was very excited and happy.

Then, when the choir was to start back up again in February, I decided that I was going to be "too busy" to attend this session (yoga classes, Sugar Plums skating lessons...oh yes and we were having vehicle issues too). I decided that I would join in September 2009 again.

In February, I joined a local Snowfest Committee and committed myself to lead the song and story time for a snowfest event in our town and then I NEEDED to learn some songs to play on the guitar with the children (you think I may have done this over my 20 years in child care considering that I have owned my guitar for 20 years as well, but no. I have been resisting this bliss for a LONG time!)

So the Snofest experience was great! I actually (finally) learned some simple songs to play for children (Itsy Bitsy Spider, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, I'm a Little Teapot etc.). It was so easy, I don't know why I resisted for so long.

Then I decided to carry over my new-found talent and finally take my guitar to work and play for the preschool children. They loved it! They are great fans! They think I'm a rock star!! Children really are the best audiences! I was doing this once a week for months.
Not sure why it has been over six weeks since I've taken the guitar to work

For some "unexplained" reason, I have stopped playing and singing. It was gradual at first. I didn't even really notice it happening.

I also found myself thinking about soon having to return to full time work and just GIVING UP any more pursuit of music. I've been looking at course calendars for colleges, looking for something that I can "make money at".

One big thing that looms over my head, is a music project that I started and have yet to complete. I decided to make a children's c.d as a fundraiser for the child care centre where I work. I have a friend who came and recorded me and a group of children singing circle time songs.... last March (2008). And that's as far as I got. The next step was supposed to be to go to his studio and finish recording some more songs.

I feel like I MUST complete this project to move forward.

Then last night... I remembered something that I told myself to do when I was getting "in a rut". I listened to music!! I was listening to Sarah Harmer: You Were Here. (I haven't actually watched this Youtube clip cuz it's 4 min. long and that would take for ever here in no man's land). There are a couple of songs on that cd that I have learned to play and I was all of a sudden, inspired!! I turned off the cd, picked up my guitar and played and played and played!!

Fishguy sat here smiling, saying "it's about time!"
And my fingers hurt like hell since my callouses have worn off.
But did it ever feel good!

Now today I think I need to think about making another 100 day challenge for myself. I see that I have been using all sorts of excuses (including my 100 day yoga challenge) to resist my bliss... and as BlissChick and the Borg say.... Resistance is Futile!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Let's See If THIS works

I wanted to see if I could post my first pic (super slow dial up permitting!) And Ta-da... It worked and really only took about 10 minutes, which was less than I was expecting.

This is our cat. He has many names and he thinks he is a dog. Here he is perched in the sunniest room in our home, right smack-dab in a patch of sunlight, right in front of the small shelf of books of which I wrote in the last post.

I was so gung-ho there last week....and then I got sick! On Saturday. It was the worst sort of stomach flu thingy. The Noro-virus, I think. I had it a couple of years ago and it was quite similar. Knocked me on my ass for the weekend. I was back to work on Monday but boy have I felt really drained this week. Just now regaining some energy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Coolest Kid Around

Wow two posts in one day…. I’m on a mission now!!

Just thinking that I want to start including what I am listening to while posting. I used to do it when I was jounaling and I always enjoy knowing what other people are listening to.

Today while I have been sitting here writing, I am listening to a children’s c.d.
Yes, that’s right, I listen to kid’s music. It’s part of what’s left of my bliss in my work in childcare.

So, this c.d is called See You On The Moon, Songs For Kids of All Ages (there’s my validation!!)
It is an awesome little recording and I will review the whole thing in the near future, but for now I just want to share the lyrics of a sweet little song.

Faith’s Silver Elephant by Rosie Thomas

(written for my beautiful niece Faith who reminds me everyday that anything is possible)

I’ve got a new silver elephant
I’m going to teach her to talk and sit
I am going to put flowers round her neck
and take her to the park without all my friends

I am going to name her a silly name
I’ll bring her to church with me every Sunday
She’ll make me famous and I’ll get my picture on the cover of every magazine

And everyone will want to be me
Cuz I’ll be the hit of the town
You wait and see I’ll be the coolest kid in around

I’ve go a new baby blue giraffe
I am going to teach her how to shake hands and
when I want to climb trees I’ll climb up on her neck and I’ll get to sit on the tallest branch

I’m gonna take her to a picture show We’ll sit side by side in the very front row
I’ll bring her to recess dressed up in a red dress
And all of the other kids will be so jealous

I think I’ll charge them a quarter
To ride her once around town
Then you’ll see I’ll be the coolest kid around
Yeah you wait and see, I’ll be the coolest kid around.

This song is not the best one on this c.d., there are a few with more clever lyrics and catchy tunes but Faith’s Silver Elephant is just so pretty sung in Rosie’s beautiful breathy voice. It is a song I would like to learn to play and sing for kids.

I’m adding it to my List Of Songs To Learn To Play For Kids!

Bookshelf Sharing

Okay, I am all about lists, and you know that taking a peek at a person’s bookshelf can tell you a lot about that person, their interests and preferences etc.

Therefore, in the interest of sharing a bit about myself, I am posting a list of the books as they appear on a small shelf in one of my favourite sitting spots in our home.

I will post a corresponding pic soon…when I figure out how exactly to do that!! (We live in a rural area, where highspeed has not yet graced it’s shining light…it’s like living in the dark ages sometimes I tells ya!)

In order of appearance from left to the wall:

  • Oxford English Minidctionary (I believe this is my daughters… a stocking stuffer perhaps?)
  • The Complete Book of Greek Cooking (I’ve been hankering to try a phyllo chicken recipe and some spanakopeta!)
  • 1001 Little Well Being Miracles Simple Secrets for Staying Happy and Relaxed ($4 Chapters find)
  • The Bhagavad Gita (required yoga training text)
  • The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (!!!)
  • Collier’s Junior Classics, ABC Go! (my favourite book when I was a child)
  • The Spirit of Yoga by Kathy Philips (second hand book store find)
  • Dec. 2005 Yoga Journal Magazine
  • Beth Shaw’s Yoga Fit
  • Babar’s Yoga For Elephants
  • The Runaway Bunny (in need of repair)
  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Organize Yourself by Ronni Eisenberg with Kate Kelly
  • Stones by Timothy Findley (a novel I have yet to read )
  • Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There: a mindfulness retreat with Sylvia Boorstein
  • Mother Nature’s Miracle Medicines (an herbal glossary booklet)
  • A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves
  • Kaplan Anatomy Colouring Book
  • Reading Magic by Mem Fox
  • Read to Me: Raising Kids Who Love to Read by Bernice Cullinan
  • Swimming with Ghandi and Einstien by William Colwell
  • Letter’s to a Young Artist by Julia Cameron
  • The Wheel of time by Carlos Castaneda
  • Krishnamurti’s Journal
  • Awakening the Spine by Vanda Scarvelli
  • Yoga Teacher Training Binder Notes

Stuffed in between the books are various papers and envelopes.

  • An envelope of info from the Writers Union of Canada/ Canadian Children’s Book Centre including “writing and illustrating children’s books: a guide to getting published, as well as a list of Canadian Publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts (this is from 2005)
  • An article printed out from Canadian Family Physician website: Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults
  • Natural Choices Guide to Swiss Vitamin and Mineral Supplements
  • Natural Choices Guide to Swiss Herbal supplements

This small collection of books is intended to be the "Yoga Centre" portion of my library, but it has a tendency to pick up strays overtime. And the majority of my Yoga books are not on the shelf because I bring them with me to my yoga classes. I will have to make a more comprehensive list of ALL my yoga books another time.

Anyone interested in sharing a bookshelf with me?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Okay, I didn't think that this blogging thing was going to be easy or anything.... but I'm already stuck in a rut. I have a folder full of drafts in the works and every time I open it up, I end up just sitting here... staring at them. Feeling overwhelmed, overthinking things, overwriting, rewriting, over analysing, feeling paralysed.

Which one should I post today?
Which one should I at least finish today?

Then, I read the blogs I'm following and feel discouraged.
"I can't write!"
Then, I surf new blogs and keep finding more and more great people to read and feel even less inclined to write.

I know that I just need to bite the bullet, forget about all my folders full of drafts and insecurities and just post something...ANYTHING, to get myself rolling again.

What I have decided to post (besides this rant) is a journal entry that I wrote back in January.

January 21, 2009

I’ve been sitting at home all day with a sick child laying here beside me on the sofa. She hasn’t had a very good day and I feel for her pain. Having a fever of 102 all day isn’t nice. Thankfully she spent a good portion of the time sleeping.

And I did not give her any Tylenol. Some may call me a bad mom, but I believe that fever is the body’s way of fighting an infection and therefore a necessary component in healing and recovery. I also believe our society is far too quick to “band-aid” the symptoms to avoid pain and discomfort at all costs. This does not build strong and capable human beings, in my humble opinion.

I, on the other had have had a very nice day feeling very comforted and grounded in my role as “Comforting, Fluid-Pushing, Chicken-Soup-Making Mama”. The very few domestic tasks I accomplished today covered the basics. Two loads of laundry washed and hung on the indoor drying racks (I don’t use a dryer); dishes from last night, breakfast and lunch washed and put away (I don’t have a dishwasher); and dinner started.

Mostly I spent the day online surfing blogs, reading a few different topics of interest to me including book reviews, yoga, creative inspiration. Spending time trying to decide what it is I want my blog to be about, exactly. Still not quite there, but I have a much better idea.

And I feel good. Better. Renewed, relaxed, remarkably unstressed and… well… very present.

Okay. There we go now. Back on track.
I'll be back again tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Liner Notes Junkie

Song lyrics and their sometimes playful, sometimes sultry dance with melody have long been the form of artistic expression that I cherish above all others.

I have many treasured cd’s, recorded by my most beloved artists and they are all well worn. Thankfully, everything is now digitalized. Unfortunately, downloaded music does not come with liner notes. I mean, you can down load lyrics, but it’s not the same thing.

I am a Liner-Notes Junkie. I love nothing better than to learn a great song inside out. Pouring over the small square booklet or long folded panels of glossy lyrics, dedications, and lists of people the artist has thanked.

I read and listen again and again, until I can sing along; each note, syllable and breath imbedded in my heart.

Beautifully crafted, clever and distinct lines of song are often scribbled down in my journals, notebooks and day timers. And, will undoubtedly find their way here, eventually.

My favourite artists are those whose songs strike me and resonate within, like Tibetan bells, creating that feeling of connection, of Oneness. Isn’t that essentially the heart of what draws us to all forms of art, afterall?

I have always considered Joni Mitchell to be one of the most respected and inspirational singer/songwriters. She is a goddess of the lyric, not to mention her crafting of “warm Joni chords” and she is an awesome visual artist to boot. As part of documenting “Artists Whom I Love”, one will be certain to find many of her lyrics quoted in future posts.

In fact, one of her most joyful songs, one that never fails to lift me up and set me right, is Chelsea Morning. This little gem first appeared on Joni’s “Clouds” album recorded in April, 1969 (I was one year old) and has since been recorded by over 80 artists. The imagery is dazzling, bright and cheerful. This imagery has become a touchstone for joy and contentment for me, not only due to it's vibrancy but because of the upbeat reminder of the importance of the present moment.

Chelsea Morning

Woke up, it was a Chelsea Morning, and the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window, and the traffic wrote the words
It came ringing up like Christmas bells, and rapping up like pipes and drums

Oh, won’t you stay
We’ll put on the day
And we’ll wear it till the night comes

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I saw
Was the sun through yellow curtains, and a rainbow on the wall
Blue, red, green and gold to welcome you, crimson crystal beads to beckon

Oh, won’t you stay
We’ll put on the day
There’s a sun show every second

Now the curtain opens on a portrait of today
And the streets are paved with passersby
And pigeons fly
And papers lie
Waiting to blow away

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning, and the first thing that I knew
There was milk and toast and honey and a Bowl of Oranges, Too
And the sun poured in like butterscotch and stuck to all my senses

Oh, won’t you stay
We’ll put on the day
And we’ll talk in present tenses

When the curtain closes and the rainbow runs away
I will bring you incense owls by night
By candle light
By jewel light
If only you will stay
Pretty baby, won’t you…
Wake up, it is a Chelsea morning

~joni Mitchell

So. Now you know. In case you were wondering.